An advisor shows neurosurgeons how to lower their risk without sacrificing their gains
Annuities can be a polarizing topic for investors, which is why this advisor uses Nitrogen to facilitate data-driven conversations with his niche client base.Download PDF
Financial advisor Jeremy A. Cooley isn’t one to shy away from technical topics; especially while working with his niche client-base, comprised mostly of orthopedic and neurosurgeons. At his firm Surgeons Capital Management, Jeremy uses Nitrogen to help put even the most nuanced investment vehicles into perspective, break down pre-conceived notions, and save precious time for his very busy clients.
Before Jeremy A. Cooley was a wealth advisor at Philadelphia-based Surgeons Capital Management, he was working at a large broker- dealer when he first came across a colleague of his using Nitrogen.
“At the time, Nitrogen wasn’t yet fully approved by the firm, but we were using it to supplement our risk questionnaire and in meetings with clients all the time,” said Jeremy.
A few years later, when he finally joined Surgeons Capital Management – a wealth management firm that works primarily with orthopedic and neurosurgeons, as well as medical device professionals – Jeremy said it was a no-brainer to introduce Nitrogen to his two partners.
“Compared to other tech platforms that require a lot of time to learn and adopt across the firm, learning to use Nitrogen came really easily to me and my partners. We quickly brought it into every client conversation,” said Jeremy.
And at a firm with many moving parts, transparency is key. Since adopting the software, Jeremy and his team have seen an overall improvement in peer-to-peer communication, as well as transparency during client meetings.
“Nitrogen gives us enough information to share with clients and show them what we’re doing without overwhelming them in the process. It definitely helps us establish trust up front and maintain good relationships with them over time.”
Part of Surgeon Capital Management’s institutional client-base includes hospital networks and independent hospitals – so naturally, the topic of annuities is a frequent one for Jeremy’s clients.
“There’s a strong polarization when it comes to annuities,” said Jeremy. ”Clients either want them, or they’ve researched on their own and have convinced themselves they’re a bad investment.”
This is where Retirement Maps makes a significant impact. Retirement Maps gives clients an intuitive glimpse into their risk capacity and probability of achieving the plan in the long term. With Retirement Maps, Jeremy can plug in various retirement strategies – like purchasing annuities – and model to his clients how income products can help reduce the risk in their portfolio, right before their eyes. Building annuities into a client’s portfolio can quickly invert an unfavorable retirement map.
When markets are at an all-time high and the concern of long-term losses is top of mind, Jeremy said that showing the impact of annuity payouts over time is extremely helpful to paint the client a picture they can understand.
“By using Nitrogen, we’re able to put annuities into perspective across all accounts and position it as an asset class. We can instantly show clients how to lower their risk without sacrificing their gains.”
Serving a niche market
For the past 11 years, Jeremy’s firm has been working almost exclusively with surgeons or those in the field – a niche market that comes with a lot of unique considerations.
“The clients we work with have one thing in common – they have very little time. Usually, they’re in and out of the operating room and don’t have time for long phone calls or sit-down meetings. It’s our job to work around their schedules.”
By framing conversations around each client’s Risk Number®, Jeremy said clients are much more engaged during the limited time they have. He also uses Check-ins to capture data points on his clients’ psychology. Periodic emails to his clients ask them two simple questions: “How are you feeling about the markets?” and “How do you feel about your financial future?” As busy as a surgeon can be, just a couple taps on their smartphone can give Jeremy an early warning sign when a client relationship needs care.
One unique way Jeremy and his team deploy Nitrogen is for on-the-go prospecting at surgeon-focused conferences. With just a tablet or computer screen, Jeremy is able to walk through the risk questionnaire and establish a basic sense of trust in no time.
“We’ll schedule a time to meet the prospect, sit down with them in a conference room, and by the end of the meeting, they’re already clients.”
Jeremy said Nitrogen even helps get the spouses on board during the prospecting process, stating that oftentimes the couple will fill out a questionnaire and be surprised at one another’s Risk Numbers.
“It’s a nice, objective ice breaker and a good way to kick off an investment conversation,” said Jeremy.
“Overall, Nitrogen allows us to be very open with our clients and with each other and gives us the data we need to stay synched across the firm at all times.”